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Cowansville couple offering horse-drawn sleigh rides on farm

| Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, 1:21 a.m.
Flavious Brinsfield returns to the stables with his two Shire horses, Silk, and Annie, after a morning ride. Brinsfield and his wife, Denise, offer private sleigh rides on their 70-acre farm in Cowansville.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Flavious Brinsfield returns to the stables with his two Shire horses, Silk, and Annie, after a morning ride. Brinsfield and his wife, Denise, offer private sleigh rides on their 70-acre farm in Cowansville.

A Cowansville couple hopes to bring a sense of wintertime nostalgia to anyone who visits their farm this winter.

Denise and Flavious Brinsfield, owners of Dragon Run Forge & Livery on Porterfield Hill, offer private horse-drawn sleigh rides for small groups on their 70-acre farm, both day and night.

“People want to live the image they see on a Christmas card, a classic sleigh driven by two large horses,” Denise said. “But that isn't just a Christmas attraction — as long as there is snow on the ground, we'll be taking sleigh rides.”

Denise said Dragon Run attracts visitors from across the country and as far away as Germany.

Kevin Andrews, director of the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau in Kittanning, said the county's rural setting and agriculture-based attractions attract visitors on a regular basis.

“A lot of areas don't have places like Dragon Run Forge, or other agriculture-based attractions,” Andrews said. “It gets people out there to experience the beauty Armstrong County has to offer, which makes it a great destination.”

Andrews said attractions like Dragon Run, the Allegheny and Kiski rivers, Armstrong Rails to Trails and the Roaring Run Trails keep visitors coming to the area throughout the year.

“There are so many different types of activities that could be done here, like hiking, biking or cross-country skiing, and different sceneries to enjoy,” Andrews said.

On Friday, the Brinsfields spent the morning preparing trails by packing snow to make the ride smooth.

Their guests visit for a variety of reasons — to get into the holiday spirit, or to snag a private, romantic moment. Each year, Denise Brinsfield said she hosts at least one marriage proposal, which she enjoys the most.

“There aren't a lot of places where you can take your girl on a sleigh ride in the middle of nowhere to pop the question,” Brinsfield said. “The gentlemen are being very inventive, and we work with them to help create the perfect opportunity.”

Brinsfield said she's hoping for snow to continue to fall throughout the winter so sleighs can continue to coast across the farm.

“It's a difficult business to be in because we could have a season where it's bitter cold, but no snow, so we can't go out,” Brinsfield said. “We have to deal with Mother Nature and go with the flow of the weather.

“But sleigh rides are tradition, and I think that has a lot to do with why we do it.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or

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